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Report expected on Manitoba intersection where crash claimed 17 lives

WINNIPEG — A report is expected today on potential safety improvements to a Manitoba highway intersection that was the scene of a deadly crash last June.

The Manitoba government started the review after a semi-trailer collided with a minibus at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 5 near the town of Carberry, some 160 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

The bus was carrying seniors to a nearby casino and 17 people died at the crash site or later in hospital.

Police said dashcam footage showed the bus was southbound on Highway 5 and crossing Highway 1 when it went into the path of the eastbound truck, which had the right of way.

The government review was to examine a range of possible upgrades to the intersection, which currently consists of stop and yield signs for drivers on Highway 5.

The mayor of Carberry said long-term changes such as an overpass would help with safety, but there are more immediate measures that could be taken, such as reducing the 100 kilometre-an-hour speed limit.

“The difference of 10 or 15 kilometres (per hour) could make the difference between survival and non-survival,” Ray Muirhead said in an interview.

A wider median is also needed, Muirhead said, because large trucks wanting to turn on or off Highway 1, which is a busy stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway system, cannot fit between the eastbound and westbound lanes while they wait.

“When you get semis with double trailers trying to navigate around that corner, it’s treacherous.”

Doyle Piwniuk, the then-transportation minister under the former Progressive Conservative government, said changes including traffic lights or an overpass could be considered as part of the review. 

Smaller steps were taken in the weeks after the crash. Signage was improved, and rumble strips and pavement markings were refreshed. 

The RCMP is still investigating the crash. A spokesperson for the force in Manitoba said officers have yet to speak to the driver of the minibus, but would not elaborate due to health privacy laws. 

Shared Health, the province’s central health-care agency, has stopped issuing updates on how many people involved in the crash remain in hospital. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2023

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press


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